• Wendy Hickey on ArtPop and ArtPop Street Gallery

    ArtPop is a Charlotte, North Carolina nonprofit which displays local art on vacant billboards.  Insider talked with ArtPop founder Wendy Hickey in Las Vegas at the 2019 OAAA conference.  Las Vegas is one of the 14 cities where ArtProp has a presence. 

    Wendy talk about ArtPop

    ArtPop makes local artists famous within their own hometown.  We hope you never see a blank billboard again.  Since 2014 we’ve featured 345 artists on over $17 million of out of home advertising space from NC to Vegas.

    How do you select art?

    When we’re in a city we do an open call for artists submission.  And artists submit their work. We jury artists into the program based on the amount of billboard space we have.  Let’s talk about Charlotte.  Each year we feature 20 local artists on billboards, on newsstands, at the airport, on shopping center displays.  Each of our artists receive about $150,000 in advertising.  And what we’re finding is that they’re selling more art, they’re able to quit their day jobs and become full time artists.  We’re also offering education.  We’re offering a business of art course to all of our artists.  We’ve introduced a senior high school component where they receive all the benefits that the adults do and they also receive a scholarship.

    Vinyl is placed on available space.  And when that billboard sells it moves on to the next available space.  When you place ArtPop art on an empty billboard it becomes noticeable and advertisers want to buy that space.

    What’s new in the last year.

    On May 1, 2018 after lots of years of working two jobs I’m the first ever employee at ArtPop.

    ArtPop Billboard in Las Vegas

    You’ve been funded by a grant.

    Each city is funded a little differently.  We’re in Las Vegas.  In Las Vegas our program is funded by the city of Las Vegas office of cultural affairs.  We get grants from places like Knight foundation and different family foundations.  However, none of those grants are in perpetuity and at this time we do not have any endowment so we are renewing ourselves year in and year out and we know that is not sustainable.  So our focus now is (1) seeking corporate sponsorships and (2) launching an ecommerce site at the end of this year so when you see the art on OOH and you want to purchase it we’re going to make it easy for folks to do that.

    What else should our readers know?

    We’re upcycling a lot of our art.  Everybody in the industry knows about tote bags being made of billboards.  But we’re also making ready to hang pieces of art.  When we take those 672’ billboard vinyls down we’re taking sections of them and we’re wrapping like ready to hang canvas.  Depending on the cut of the vinyl we have art from 2’ to 14’ tall!

    The most important thing to know is the impact that we’re having on artists lives.  We talk about making artists successful.  And when artists are successful that community becomes successful.

    Want to get involved with ArtPop Street Gallery?

         Email:  Wendy@ArtPopStreetGallery.com 

    Here’s a two minute video about the company’s activities.

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